What is MAT? Busting Myths and Sharing Facts About Overcoming Fentanyl Addiction Safely

Fentanyl addiction continues to be a scourge on communities across the country. Over 100,000 people died as a result of fentanyl in 2023 - primarily young adults and people of color. As the number continues to rise, more resources are needed to fight the battle against opioid addiction. One tool being deployed is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). While not a new tool, it has emerged as a viable option in saving lives and promoting recovery. However, misconceptions and myths surrounding MAT have hindered its widespread adoption and effectiveness. In this blog, we'll delve into what MAT is, address common misconceptions, and shed light on its crucial role in safely overcoming fentanyl addiction.


What is MAT?


Medication-Assisted Treatment is the combination of doctor prescribed medication, such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone, with counseling and behavioral therapy. It is used to treat substance use disorders and has proven to be especially effective with opioid addiction. These medications work by mitigating withdrawal symptoms, reducing cravings, and blocking the euphoric effects of opioids. Freed from the physical and psychological dependence, the individual is able to start their journey towards recovery.


Debunking Myths About MAT


Myth: MAT simply replaces one addiction with another.

Fact: MAT is prescribed and supervised by a doctor

While methadone and suboxone can be physically addictive if abused, the point of MAT is not to substitute one addiction for another. Rather it is about addressing the psychological and physiological aspects of addiction and using medication to stabilize brain chemistry so you can focus on recovery without worrying about relapse or withdrawal. MAT is not for long-term use. 


Myth: MAT is just a "quick fix" solution.

Fact: Recovery is a lifelong process. 

Recovery from addiction is a complex and ongoing process that requires comprehensive support. MAT, when combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, provides a holistic approach to treatment, helping individuals address underlying issues, develop coping skills, and maintain long-term sobriety.


Myth: MAT is only for those who lack willpower or are not serious about recovery.

Fact: Fentanyl addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such. It has nothing to do with willpower. 

Addiction is a chronic medical condition that negatively impacts the brain's functioning and affects behavior. MAT is an evidence-based treatment approach recommended by leading health organizations, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It is an effective option for individuals committed to overcoming addiction and rebuilding their lives.


The Role of MAT in Overcoming Fentanyl Addiction Safely


Regarded as one of the most potent and addictive opioids on the market, fentanyl has contributed to an extreme increase in overdose deaths over the last several years. Due to its unique properties, overcoming fentanyl addiction can be quite difficult due to its intense and prolonged withdrawal symptoms and high risk of relapse. MAT offers a lifeline for individuals struggling with fentanyl addiction by:

  • Providing relief from severe withdrawal symptoms, including cravings, anxiety, and physical discomfort.
  • Reducing the risk of overdose by blocking the effects of fentanyl and other opioids.
  • Offering stability and support so it’s possible to get started in counseling, therapy, and other essential services to address the root causes of addiction and promote lasting recovery.


To MAT or Not to MAT


MAT is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but it can be a valuable tool in the fight against fentanyl addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug abuse, call Sunflower Recovery today to talk with our admissions team about their options. You don’t have to do this alone and there is hope for a brighter tomorrow. Call us today. 

The Truth About MAT and Its Treatment Application for Fentanyl Addiction